La Velle E. Neal III has covered baseball for the Star Tribune since 1998 (the post-Knoblauch era). Born and raised in Chicago, he grew up following the White Sox and hating the Cubs. He attended both the University of Illinois and Illinois-Chicago and began his baseball writing career at the Kansas City Star. He can be heard occasionally on KFAN radio, lending his great baseball mind to Paul Allen and other hosts. Mark Rosen borrows him occasionally for WCCO-TV.

Twins: Trying to keep a lousy homestand from getting any worse

Posted by: La Velle E. Neal III Updated: May 19, 2013 - 12:00 PM

The Twins have had one clunker of a homestand, losing six of eight games. And Boston has them teed up for a sweep as they send John Lackey to the mound against Pedro Hernandez.

Josh Willingham is getting a day off as he continues to struggle and his frustration mounts. ``He was a little fired up yesterday,'' Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. Willingham is in a funk. He's taking hittable pitches and swinging at pitches he shouldn't. Well, he has gotten a cookie here and there, but has failed to do anything with them.

Willingham finished April batting .250. In May, Willingham is batting .132 with a .208 slugging percentage. He has not homered in 74 plate appearances. Overall, he's batting .198 with five home runs and 18 RBI. At the same point last year, Hammer was batting .298 with eight homers and 24 RBI.

Ryan Doumit is getting today off after a long game last night that included him trying to run over Boston's catcher at home plate.

Brian Dozier also isn't in the lineup as his batting average plummets to the .200 level (.212). He's been working on trying to cut down on the fly balls. He's reminding me of Nick Punto. Jamey Carroll, swinging a hot bat of late, is in at second.

When Cole De Vries was activated from the DL yesterday (and officially sent to Rochester) it was the first transaction of any kind for the club in a month. The last move they made was to call Oswaldo Arica from Rochester on April 17.

Rochester first baseman Chris Colabello has been named Twins minor league player of the week after batting .560 in seven games with three home runs and eight RBI.

Red Sox (26-17)

1. Shane Victorino, CF
2. Jonny Gomes, LF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. David Ortiz, DH
5. Mike Napoli, 1B
6. Daniel Nava, RF
7. Will Middlebrooks, 3B
8. Salty, C
9. Pedro Ciriaco, SS

Pitching: John Lackey, RHP

Twins (18-21)

1. Jamey Carroll, 2B
2. Joe Mauer, C
3. Justin Morneau, 1B
4. Trevor Plouffe, 3B
5. Oswaldo Arcia, DH
6. Wilkin Ramirez, LF
7. Chris Parmelee, RF
8. Aaron Hicks, CF
9. Pedro Florimon, SS

Pitching: Pedro Hernandez, LHP

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